The Starting Nine

sp_phish_gambleWith October upon us, and the baseball postseason underway, fans across the nation – from New York to Colorado to Los Angeles – begin to hang on every pitch of every inning. For the next month, right through Indio, the playoffs will be a passionate subplot to many of our days and nights. People have often likened Phish and baseball fans, two statistically-obsessed subcultures within our society. When the game or show is on, everything else is off, as we seek a unique feeling only attained when our heroes really work collectively. Accessing very different parts of our selves, being a fan of baseball and a fan of Phish, can be incredibly compulsive and complementary habits, eating up significant chunks of time. But few things engage me more than these two pastimes. Combining them for just a day, I present to you Phish’s starting post-season lineup.  You can download the nine selections below.

1. Tube

A lead-off hitter needs to get going quickly and have speed to get around the bases. Not placed here for power, “Tube” gets on base early and often. Known to steal bases and use its funk to kick start the team’s offense, “Tube” plays the role of a lead-off hitter perfectly. A short shot of groove sets the table for the bigger jams, “Tube’s” crack-like dance rhythms reach base almost every time. Chula Vista’s first set version from ’99 works quite nicely as an illustration.

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2. Bathtub Gin

4198_1152308280374_1007653377_30464754_3849393_n-2Batting second, “Bathtub Gin,” a solid hitter who specializes in lacing doubles in the gap. Boasting both power and speed, “Gin” fits well in the second position. Rarely coming up empty, and sometimes going huge, “Gin” has the type of steady mid-range jamming that embodies the qualities of a great number-two hitter. Here is an overlooked version from The Palace in ’97 that segues into “Foam.”

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3. Ghost

The three slot usually goes to the best hitter on the team, and since its ’97 debut, there has been no more consistent jam vehicle than “Ghost.” Evolving stylistically with the band,”Ghost” has proven to also be one of the most versatile pieces in their repertoire. A true five-tool player, “Ghost” can go anywhere at anytime, capable of groove, spacescapes, gnarling rock, ambient, and melodic textures. If translated to baseball stats, we are talking .300, 30, and 100 year in and year out. And “Ghost” will get plenty of pitches to hit because look who’s hitting next. This dark-horse version from Portland Meadows in ’99 illustrates the song’s versatility.

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4. Tweezer

The ultimate cleanup hitter, “Tweezer” is the Babe Ruth of Phish songs, swatting jams out of the park with a 42 ounce bat like it’s a toothpick. If there are ducks on the pond, “Tweezer” will clean the base paths almost every time.  Protecting “Ghost” with its intimidating psychedelia, no opposing pitcher wants to face “Tweezer” with the lead on the line. Having been groomed for this position since i’s youth, “Tweezer” ascended to its rightful spot in the order a long time ago and doesn’t seem to have signs of giving it up. These days, when I think “Tweezer,” I think Red Rocks.

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5. Down With Disease

phish20baseball-400-x-585-1Giving opposing pitchers no rest, “Down With Disease” holds down the coveted five spot. Reserved for a powerhouse that rarely strikes out, “Disease” fits the description perfectly. One of Phish’s favorite vehicles, when that fuzzy bass intro emerges, it sounds like a hanging curveball just waiting to be clobbered. “Disease” is a crafty veteran who can get the job done in more ways than one, but most often its with diverse and creative improv. Not necessarily a 40 home run hitter, “Disease” has made the All-Star team every year since 1996. Here is the incredibly cathartic version from 12.30.03 in Miami.

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6. David Bowie

This aging veteran has lost a step in its old age, but “Bowie” can still close sets with the best of them. No longer the psychedelic monstrosity of ’94 and ’95, the song still possesses power and legacy. I’m an AL fan, so “Bowie” will fill our designated hitter slot. Sometimes a defensive liability in the outfield due to older legs and aching knees, “Bowie” still has the potential to come through in the clutch every time it steps to the plate. Here is one from the glory days – 6.18.94′s Mind Left Bowie.

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7. Stash

Another versatile player, “Stash” slides into the seven hole, illustrating the top to bottom consistency of Phish’s line-up. “Stash” boasted an explosive summer of 2009, and goes into the playoffs as hot as any song.  After stellar nights in Colorado, Washington, and Connecticut, “Stash’s” confidence is peaking. Providing spark in the bottom third of the lineup, “Stash” is a versatile hitter who can spray the ball to all fields, slapping 10-minute singles or 20-minute home runs. Here is the foreboding version from Hartford this summer that hasn’t gotten enough props.

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phishfenway18. Split Open and Melt

As we get towards the bottom of the lineup, “Split” boasts an ominous presence for any pitcher. Just when they think there might be a gap in the offense, this scary hitter steps to the plate. Drawing a lot of walks due to its intimidation, “Split” has the highest on-base percentage of any number eight hitter in the league. Capable of legging it out via groove, more often than not “Split’s” outward psychedelia is it’s biggest offensive weapon. Here is an all-time favorite from Niagara Falls ’95.

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9. Run Like An Antelope

Rounding out the staring lineup, and acting as the “second lead-off” hitter is “Antelope.” With the quickest speed on the team, its ability to reach base on infield singles, and to reach third on routine doubles, astounds all opposing teams. If “Antelope” gets to first, it might as well be on third, boasting the highest single-season stolen base total since Rickey Henderson. And don’t be surprised to see some power in his bat, “Antelope” has made a living by popping dingers at the end of any given set. Here is a scorcher from La Mesa ’94.

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**

“Miner’s Starting Lineup” < Torrent

“Miner’s Starting Lineup” < Megaupload

1. “Tube” 9.18.99 Chula Vista, CA

2. “Bathtub Gin > Foam” 12.6.97 Auburn Hills, MI

3. “Ghost” 9.12.99 Portland, OR

4. “Tweezer” 7.31.09 Morrison, CO

5. “Down With Disease” 12.30.03 Miami, FL

6. “David Bowie” 6.18.94 Chicago, IL

7. “Stash” 8.14.09 Hartford, CT

8. “Split” 12.7.95 Niagara Falls, NY

9. “Antelope” 12.9.94 La Mesa, AZ

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.26.91 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA < Torrent

7.26.91 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA < Megaupload

phish-summertour-91Here is a return to the Summer of ’91 and Phish’s standout run with The Giant Country Horns. This second-to-last show of the Horns’ run showcases a well-practiced band whose communication transformed Phish’s music into a a sort of prog-rock fusion for a fortnight. The Aquarium Rescue Unit opened this show as the band co-billed their run though the South, switching headlining slots.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Reba, My Sweet One, Foam, Suzy Greenberg, Cavern, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Buried Alive, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, Golgi Apparatus

II: Stash, Dinner and a Movie, You Enjoy Myself, Flat Fee, Funky Bitch, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer, Sweet Adeline, The Lizards* > Tweezer Reprise

E: Lawn Boy, Frankenstein, Split Open and Melt

w/ The Giant Country Horns

* Happy Birthday dedication to Chris Kuroda

Source: Shure 57 > Casio D7 > SPDIF

Tags: ,

283 Responses to “The Starting Nine”

  1. bhizzle Says:

    Somehow I want to drop Vida Blue somewhere.

  2. albert walker Says:

    go Hawks!!

  3. SOAM Says:

    I’m surprised no one likes “Alaska”-the version from Red Rocks rips and is tight-I love that tune actually

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    HarryHood, it would make pretty good entrance music for a closer too. I could see “The Curtain” trotting out from the bullpen while over the PA you hear “Please me, have no regrets!”

    SOAM, I think Alaska definitely makes the All-Rookie team. Solid performer with the potential to contribute for years to come.

    God, I could make these analogies all day. This is fun.

  5. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    I’m with you SOAM, I love alaska and am surprised it doesn’t get more love.

    today’s subject makes me happy…

  6. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Miner – have to agree completely with the baseball / phish thing. I spend readicculus amounts of time, energy, and money on both. At phish shows I write down setlists, at baseball games I keep score. You never know what is going to happen, except you know enough of what is going to happen to keep your head in the game/show. That might not make sense at first blush, but what I mean is (and forgive me, I don’t have Miner’s flair for words) that both playout in a unique way within a familiar framework. The only major difference is that at a Phish show, nobody loses.

  7. superREVERB Says:

    I know that this is off topic and I apologize if it has already been mentioned – but did anybody notice that on the phish website where they are showcasing their possible Halloween album that somebody photoshopped a Langedoc guitar on Bruce Springsteen’s “BORN TO RUN” album…..the original album should have his telecaster.

    -james

  8. fat bastard Says:

    meatstick=soriano. ditch him

  9. MOONSHAKE Says:

    I too am with you SOAM… liked it the 1st time they played it @ Asheville and liked it @ Merriweather and still like it now… thought I was by myself on that one… Alaska is a fun song

  10. MOONSHAKE Says:

    I took a look at Phantasy Tour for the 1st time yesterday…

    To ease my own frustration with lack of announced winter tour dates, I did a google search on rumoured 2009 tour dates, etc.

    There was a thread going where someone had posted supposed proof of there being a fall/winter tour…

    but I was amazed at how un-friendly the forum was…

    Everybody is whining and griping and calling eachother names… very very different than our little oasis here at PhishThoughts…

    so I would like to thank Mr. Miner for creating and working so dilligently on our little oasis here…

    I couldn’t imagine being a regular over at the other forum… too much negativity…. we have a nice group of regulars here… everybody’s pleasant, clever, helpful, interesting…etc.

    again, tHaNkS

  11. MOONSHAKE Says:

    oh and I’ll be getting a Phishthoughts shirt on me next paycheck. Respec, big ups, and keep it real!

  12. afroskully Says:

    12/31/93=phish’s perfect game.

    camel walk=cecil fielder. I don’t know why, i just imagine him using it as a themesong as he slowly walks to the supermarket.

  13. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @afro – I about spit out my coffee imagining Big C loping to the supermarket to Camel Walk!

  14. Prince Nabby Says:

    Back from my own self-imposed hiatus and really, really, really excited in anticipation of 8 . . . I just have to add my agreement to Afroskully’s denomination of 12.31.93 as the perfect game. I listened to it again yesterday, and they were absolutely *on fire* that night.

  15. JerryTimber Says:

    Collecting Phish shows=collecting baseball cards. Took me a long time to get a quality copy of 7/21/99 to finish off my collection of Phish shows I’ve been to, just like back in 1982, as a 10 year old boy, it took all summer to get that last Topps card to finsh off the set. That’s alot of rock hard gum to go through just for a Wayne Krenchicki card.

    I’ve used baseball many times to try to explain to friends and family my obsession with Phish. Of course, Phish does not disappoint me like the Cincinnati Reds do. Damn 10th straight losing season!

  16. llamalee Says:

    im not a baseball man (49ers are my squad) but i gotta say mr. miner thats funny write-up today and pretty strong phish line-up. llamalee approves and is now talking about himself in 3rd person

  17. Absher Says:

    How do you get a Phishthoughts T-shirt? I read this post everyday and I love it. Hood isn’t in the starting line up? What the hay?

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    I just wanted to say that I loved today’s Thoughts. I look forward to reading the Thoughts everyday. Thank you very much for taking the time and creative energy to write these! Without news of the winter tour and being too poor to make it to Indio I need things like this to keep my Phish hunger down and my stomach from growling. I hope everyone’s having a great day!

  19. Absher Says:

    Go Rockies!!!

  20. Comrade Says:

    aging, over-the-hill pitcher that is a crowd favorite that should probably retire from the game = Simple

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    Absher…give ‘em another couple of hours, Robear and Mr. C should show up…click on either of their names and it should take you to the shirts.

  22. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    @Absher — Click on Mr. Completely’s name, either in the thread from yesterday or when he comes on later today. All proceeds to Mr. Miner’s work on this site and the audio archive.

  23. Birddog Says:

    How would we categorize a couple old timers like Drowned and Rock N’ Roll? Are these like the all-star finishing out his career with another team aka Farve or Randy Johnson?

    @ llamalee – Go Niners!

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    Oh, I just thought of something…How about utility players? or our 5 starting pitchers?

    YEM could be our ace.
    Time Turns Elastic is our young gun. Throws hard, but sometimes struggles with accuracy and is still working on the offspeed stuff.
    Fluffhead is the outstanding personality, kinda like Charlie Sheen “The Wildthing” in Major League.
    Squirming Coil is pretty consistent, but lacks some all around flash.
    Harry Hood has seen better days. Arm isn’t as strong as it used to be, but still capable of a gem here and here.

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Birddog, I think Rock n Roll and Drowned are like Ichiro and H. Matsui, respectively. Both are imports from another league (covers – foreign players maybe?).

    Ichiro/Rock n Roll is the consistent performer who always seems to get a hit

    Matsui/Drowned is the power hitter with aging legs who can come on strong and provide serious run support but sometimes just can’t pull it all together

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